Shoppers carry bags in New York City on Black Friday, November 26. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Retail spending in the United States rose for the fourth straight month in November, but at a slower clip than most economists predicted, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report Wednesday.
The report said retail spending increased by 0.3% in November, following growth in August, September and October.
The increase, however, was well short of the 0.8% growth expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Wednesday's report also revised up October's growth, from 1.7% to 1.8% over September.
The numbers, which do not account for inflation, are better on a year-over-year basis. Retail purchases last month were 18.2% higher than they were in November in 2020.
Department stores saw the biggest decline in sales (5.4%), followed by electronics and appliance stores (4.6%).
At the other end, gas stations (1.7%) and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores saw the greatest gains (1.3%).
Wednesday's report said restaurants and bars experienced the largest year-over-year increase, at 37.4%.
"I see this more as a sign that Americans started their holiday shopping early, as opposed to bad news for retailers," creditcards.com analyst Ted Rossman told The Hill.
"Even though November 2021 sales were only up 0.3% from October 2021, they were up 18.2% from November 2020. That year-over-year comparison is more significant, and it illustrates robust expansion."